The Paper Clips

By the desk near the fax machine that nobody really wants, there is a special drawer for paper clips and erasers. It’s in the corner, like an afterthought, just like the paper clips themselves. Only slide projectors and viewing screens can be seen up front, but it wasn’t worth the fight for visibility. 

Paper clips like their unobtrusive, low-commitment-oriented life. The front of the room is too bright. Really the only ones that like center stage are the kind of assholes that run for a political office. Even local law has mirrors for windows.

Paper will become obsolete, the up-fronters say. As if this is something I want to hear. Monitors are popular, but they’ll die off too. Who doesn’t remember Elmo?

It’s the importance, the integrity of the position that really matters. Not the actual position. There is no twisting involved with a screen. Lazy by nature, they demonstrate the shapes and activity that only in-betweeners have. 

Not the display. Not the object on display. Paper clips fit somewhere in the middle. 

Don’t you worry about being replaced?

The up-fronters think honesty and tact are two separate things. 

I look at the stapler. He’s still here. I look at the rubber bands. They’re still here too. I try to find the pencil sharpener, but it’s not in the desk. The erasers are on borrowed time. 

10 thoughts on “The Paper Clips

  1. Pingback: The Paper Clips — Object Relations – Disablities & Mental Health Issues

  2. Great line “Even local law has mirrors for windows.” Juxtapositions of time and obsolescence with a glimpse into the fractal dimensions between the 3 hard axes of our cartesian world.

  3. I still like do my writing on paper. It’s easier to scratch out, circle parts, and make arrows to elsewhere on the page. I can always find use for the clip, but I admit I don’t have to buy them often – Isn’t that what the office stock room is for?

  4. Terrific post.
    You can’t have an emotional attachment to CDs, DVDs, hard drives. But the feel of a familiar old pen in your hand, the sound of that pen or a pencil on paper — these reach us through our senses and bind to our memory of a place and time. Clips and rubber bands are the background extras in a film of that world.

  5. I have a small, black, metal-mesh container on my desk full of coloured paper clips. At the moment, they are obscured by other random items I have thrown on top of them, like a key chain, a numerical padlock, and some coins. I was too lazy to find a suitable home for these items, so that is where they remain.

  6. I once worked for a self-made millionaire who invented a paperclip machine in the heady entrepeneurial days of the 1980’s. I was an arborist on his large olive farm, and spent time sharpening and maintaining my equipment and processing the olives in his huge industrial sheds. Large piles of dusty, rat infested junk littered the storerooms and shelving, much of it the leftovers of many of his ventures, including millions of brightly coloured paperclips still in their boxes. I asked him why they weren’t being sold. He replied “The Chinese copied my machine on an industrial scale and produced paperclips far cheaper than I could make them, so my business was no longer viable.” In an ironic twist of fate, the 70 year old olive trees (5500 in number) I cared for and the farm, were bought by a local capsicum farmer, a self-made millionaire himself, who promptly bulldozed the valuable and profitable, though labour intensive olive trees, planted capsicums and tomatoes, then went disasterously bust. Rise and fall, greedy buggers! Rich men dont always succeed, and when they fail ,they often leave a trail of destruction far greater than a shed full of rusty paperclips.

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